Reinforcements are expected for the Detroit Red Wings in Philadelphia

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings are expected to have some reinforcements return to their lineup just in time as they head to Philadelphia to square off with the Flyers on Saturday night.

I say just in time because the Detroit Red Wings have unfortunately lost four of their last five contests and are 4-5-1 over their last ten games. Although he will be reluctant to mention this, I can assume that this isn’t exactly how star forward Patrick Kane pictured things upon joining the Red Wings. Kane has looked the part, and while a player of his caliber will always have a microscope on him among the fans, he’s performed exceptionally well in a Red Wings uniform thus far. After missing seven months of hockey due to a hip resurfacing surgery, a risky procedure not many have returned from, this is still really Kane’s training camp/preseason, but he’s acclimated well.

He’s proven dangerous in the offensive zone every night. His playmaking abilities, creativity, and vision are second to none, and that’s where he makes up for his lack of physical play and defensive awareness. Kane has never been one to work the boards or lay the body; he’s never been a good defensive forward, so to think he’d suddenly join the Detroit Red Wings at 35 years old and be something he’s never been is just foolish criticism. He’s here to create offense, and if his hip holds up for the remainder of this season, he’s certainly looked the part.

Part of the issue with Detroit over the past few games is the fact that they’ve been undermanned upfront; that is about to change.

J.T. Compher and Klim Kostin will return for the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

The Detroit Red Wings have been without their top player, Dylan Larkin, but they’ve also been without J.T. Compher and Klim Kostin. Playing without their two top centermen, Detroit has had to rely upon Joe Veleno and Andrew Copp more than they’d like. Both players are nice complementary pieces but are a bit in over their heads. Ok, Kostin won’t move the needle for most, but he’s a nice fourth-line energy guy who possesses some offensive upside. Kostin averages less than nine minutes per night and has totaled just two goals and three points in 21 games. The 6-foot-4 winger brings a physical element to the fourth line, and although he unlikely strikes fear into the opponent like enforcers of the past, he isn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates.

Compher, on the other hand, has firmly solidified himself as Detroit’s clear number two center. His impact on all facets of the game has been greatly missed. He’s averaged just about 19 minutes a night for the Red Wings this season, a mere two minutes more than his career average. In 24 games, he’s racked up six goals and 19 points while maintaining a plus-7 rating. Compher’s 2.5 points per 60 minutes is by far a career-best. One downside is the fact that he’s only harbored a Corsi For Percentage of 44.3 this season. His Relative Corsi For Percentage is -3.2, which is less than ideal.

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Both J.T. Compher and Klim Kostin were full participants in practice on Friday, and Lalonde said that he is ‘confident’ both will play in Philadelphia. The Detroit Red Wings are also without veteran David Perron, who continues to serve his six-game suspension. He’s filed an appeal but has yet to hear a verdict. Dylan Larkin has returned to the ice following the scary incident last Saturday against Ottawa. He may return to Detroit’s lineup on Monday, but that may also be wishful thinking, as head coach Derek Lalonde pointed out during Friday’s practice.